Buried gems of the Out­back

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - OPAL CAPITAL -

Opals are not the only jewels you’ll find un­der­ground in the min­ing and tourism town of Coober Pedy, writes Sp­ida Everitt

COOBER Pedy was built on the back of a fever­ish ad­dic­tion to opal min­ing in 1915, and to­day it’s the opals – and tourism – that keep the heart of this town pump­ing.

Lo­cated 846km north of Ade­laide, Coober Pedy has to be seen to be be­lieved, with its opal mines and houses that seem to be noth­ing more than a front door on the side of a mound of rock and dirt.

The lo­cal’s homes – known as dugouts – are built un­der­ground to es­cape the Out­back’s high tem­per­a­tures. In­side, th­ese homes are just like the ones above ground – with power, wa­ter, TV sig­nal and tele­phone con­nec­tion – save for the lack of win­dows.

Nat­u­ral light en­ters via sky­lights and tem­per­a­tures are kept at about 23C year round.

Our first stop is at an opal shop which in­cludes a tour of Umoona Opals with a lovely gen­tle­man by the name of Yani.

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